An all-in-one office app with speedy performance

Move over, Microsoft Office and Google Drive, WPS Office (iOS|Android) is one of the best mobile office suites you can download. This app built by Chinese company Kingsoft is wildly popular in the East and has been slowly gaining steam in the US thanks to its many loyal fans.

Feature for feature, it matches its competitors, offering the tools you need to create and edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations. The best part of WPS Office is that it’s free for anyone and you don’t need an account to use the app — just download and get started right away. That’s different than Office or Drive, which both require accounts and Office requires a subscription.

The Android version of WPS Office just got a major update, with a new design and Dropbox integration. I’ll be covering that app in this review. However, there are significant differences between the tablet and phone versions of WPS Office. The tablet app is the one to get, because of its intuitive layout and buttery-smooth performance. The phone app on the other hand, which was built for smaller edits, has a bland design that’s so clunky that I’d rather not use it at all.

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A closer look at WPS Office’s editing tools (pictures)

Getting around

WPS Office is really three programs rolled into one app: Writer, Spreadsheet and Presentation (WPS). But you don’t need to download individual apps for each scenario, like you do with Microsoft Office or Google’s offerings. Instead, WPS Office opens the correct tool for the job when you open a file.

WPS Office’s Android tablet app was recently updated with a clean, Material-based design and simplified layout. It doesn’t get in your way and it lends itself nicely to making quick or robust edits on your tablet. The tablet and phone versions have different looks and layouts, and for this review I’ll focus primarily on the tablet edition. The phone app is quite bare-bones and really only useful for minor edits, like adding text or changing the font because the toolbars are harder to navigate.

The design is a lot like Microsoft Office, with a color toolbar at the top for all of your editing options. There are tabs for different tools, including File, Insert and View, at the top of the screen and if you’re familiar with most office programs, you’ll find your way around with ease.

WPS Office’s homepage helps you create new files.  Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

The main screen of the app shows your recently opened files and a left-side menu bar. Slide out that menu bar by swiping right to create a new text document, spreadsheet or presentation or to open files on your device. WPS Office has full compatibility with Microsoft and Google Docs file types, like DOCX or GSHEET, and the app just recently added Dropbox integration, so you can view and edit files stored in that account. You can also connect other cloud storage accounts, including Box, Google Drive, OneDrive and Evernote.

Also part of that menu bar is the File Tabs section, which lets you jump around to your open files. It’s a handy feature that lets you keep multiple files open at once and easy switch between them. When you close a file, it will disappear from that list.